By Annie Zhu | October 12, 2020
Last Wednesday (October 7th), our school invited Yamiche Alcindor to talk about the upcoming election and her experiences as a journalist. See the full record of the meeting here.
As a White House Correspondent for PBS NewsHour and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, Yamiche shared many valuable pieces of information and suggestions about current political issues with students.
Below are some of the interesting topics discussed by Yamiche Alcindor and students' reactions to her points of view.
"The whole thing is entirely different this year."
One of the things that makes 2020’s election so different is that we are all doing this virtually because of the virus. Yamiche emphasized several times that “this pandemic has killed more people this year in seven months than the flu killed in the last five years combined.” Thinking of the huge number of people we lost this year, Yamiche told us, “We are in this world where the Biden campaign wants to highlight that the Trump campaign has not protected America from the virus and simply couldn’t even protect itself.” Therefore, above all the other things, this pandemic is definitely on every voter's mind.
Students showed agreement with what Yamiche pointed out. Ninth grade student Jenan Hassan said, “This year is definitely different with the virus and, of course, President Trump. Just look at the first presidential debate stage; I feel like previous elections were more organized.”
"To be civil and to be polite is the way."
During this election year, especially given the difficult circumstances, Yamiche believed that we should try to listen to different points of view and learn from them. She said, “I think that we have a society that is so polarized that people who believe in one thing and people who believe in another simply can’t be friends.” When asked about her experience of working with people that have different perspectives, Yamiche told us that she tried to be polite, and that she believed to be civil and to be loving is the way.
However, she clarified that although we can disagree on something, “we have to have some facts that need to be agreed on. Like when we talk about racism.” Just as Yamiche said, our goal at Greenhills is always to be an anti-racist community. It is important for every students to know that we want to consider multiple viewpoints, while also holding on to our values of being an anti-racist school.
"Look for those facts"
Adding on to the topic of the election, Yamiche encouraged students to make sure their political opinions were based on facts and research, urging students to be empathetic, to listen to each other, and to consume more international media as well as social media that they might not agree with to form their opinions about America. “Look for those facts, and make sure you know where you are leaning on for your research,” she said.
"The White House is really scary now."
Students also showed curiosity about what it's like in the White House. When asked to name things about the White House that most people don’t know, Yamiche emphasized that the White House is much smaller than it looks. She used the word “scary” twice when describing the press conferences, saying, “When the White House press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus and she refuses to wear a mask when talking to reporters, that underscores just how scary it is for people that are recording since we aren’t far away from each other.”
When students were asked about their reactions to the realization that White House is extremely cramped, students expressed shock, surprise, and concern about the reporters’ safety at the White House. “I don’t understand why people still refuse to wear masks at this time,” said Jenan Hassan.